Eco-Friendly Home Renovation Tips

Eco-Friendly Home

So you just bought an older home that needs some work and you’re thinking of making some eco-friendly renovations. Maybe you rip out that hideous Formica® countertop in the kitchen and replace it with a paper-based countertop made from sustainable tree pulp, or maybe you install a new bathroom vanity with bamboo plywood using a low volatile organic compound (VOC) adhesive. Whether you’re remodeling a kitchen, living room, bedroom, or bathroom, there are several earth-friendly things you can do to transform your home into a living space that is safe on the environment.

Use Recycled Materials

When it comes to making an eco-friendly home improvement, it’s best to use materials that are made from recycled goods. Known as “green building materials” or byproducts, these materials contain fewer pollutants and they help reduce unnecessary waste.

Composite decking, for example, is engineered from both recycled plastics and wood waste, making it a great choice for homeowners who are concerned about the environment. Plus, composite materials won’t warp, crack, splinter, or rot like traditional wood decking.

Other examples of eco-friendly materials include shingles made from quarry waste, driveway pavers made from recycled rubber tires, and masonry veneers made with stone chips.

Avoid High-VOC Products

If you’ve ever driven a new car you probably noticed an unpleasant odor the second you got behind the wheel. This “new car” smell is often a result of sealers and adhesives used in the interior of a newly manufactured car. Known as VOCs, these toxic chemicals are not only found in newly manufactured cars, but they’re also inside the home.

Exposure to VOCs is not only harsh on your nose, but it’s also harmful to your health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to VOCs can have short-term as well as long-term health effects, including:

  • Irritation to the eye, nose, and throat
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Nausea
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Cancer

VOCs can emit from products such as wood preservatives as well as paint. For an eco-friendly home remodel, look for kiln-dried lumber and water-based paint, as these products are non-VOC materials.

Repurpose Salvaged Materials

Instead of throwing away old furniture, you can repurpose them for other uses. This is not only an eco-friendly way to reduce the amount of waste in landfills, but it’s also a great way to add character to your home. For example, install hooks onto an old headboard, mount it to the wall, and use it as a coat rack. Or take a bedroom door and turn it into a coffee table for your living room.

You can find salvaged materials at lumber mills and lumber yards for many of your eco-friendly projects. Most of these places have a lot of waste, so it might be a good idea to talk to the yard manager about using some of it for your projects. Pallet recycling centers are another great place to look for building materials, and some of these centers will even make donations.

3 Reasons to Go “Green” with Your New Home

Building a Certified Green HomeGoing green with your home doesn’t always mean you have to downgrade your living standards. In fact, thanks to the growing availability of greener product choices, you don’t need to drastically cut back on the number of showers you take at home, and you can still leave the light on in your office study once in a while without being unreasonably wasteful.  While the purchase of a green home may sound like something reserved for environmentalists, it does have incredible benefits for all homeowners. If you’re looking to move soon, here are three reasons to go “green” with your new home.

1. Increases Value 

One of the reasons a green home is so attractive to homebuyers in today’s market is because it can boost value. Even if you purchase an older house, you can still make eco-friendly improvements that impact the value of your home, such as choosing ENERGY STAR rated appliances or installing water-saving toilets. If you’re planning to build your new home, you can get the most value by building a custom green home. From start to finish, a green certified homebuilder will ensure that your dream home is not only energy efficient, but also environmentally friendly.

2. Saves Water & Energy Consumption

According to Tara-Nicholle Nelson, a real estate broker at Trulia, a green home can reduce your utility bills by as much as 20 or 30 percent—that’s a savings of $400 to $600 per year! If you live in areas with extreme temperatures the savings could be even higher, she says. With improved energy efficiency, a green home also means a homeowner can expect more savings. In fact, the EPA estimates that energy-efficient homes contribute to a total annual savings of over $19 billion in the U.S. That’s some serious cash!

3. Less Construction Waste

Traditional building construction produces a lot of waste, but it doesn’t have to be this way. According to the EPA, building construction, renovation, and demolition projects contribute to 60 percent of the nation’s non-industrial, non-hazardous solid waste. But by having green building standards, the U.S. could reduce the 170 million tons of construction waste found in landfills as well as improve greenhouse emissions. Certified green homebuilding means that building materials are either salvaged and reused or recycled during construction. This translates into less waste and fewer materials for landfills. Whether you’re planning to purchase an existing home or build a new one, a green home can provide a greater return on investment, improve energy efficiency, and produce less waste than a traditional home. If you’re ready to get started on your new certified green home, contact us today for a consultation.